We don't just want to beat our leaguemates in fantasy football. Honestly, we hope to destroy them. Am I right!?!?

One way to achieve this is by targeting players with elite play-making ability in situations that make our league mates nervous.

That last part is essential. When uncertainty makes other drafters fearful, we want to embrace it, especially when it surrounds high-end talent. There are a couple of great things about these types of players.

  1. When the public is wrong about their perceived limitations, we end up with league-winners.
  2. When the public is correct about their perceived limitations, we can still end up with startable players because they can do more with less.

This season, there are four playmakers that I am targeting every chance I get.

De'Von Achane | RB | Dolphins

  • ESPN average draft position (ADP): RB13 (Pick 35)
  • Yahoo ADP: RB12 (31)

Achane took the league by storm last season, averaging 16.3 points per game (PPG). If we remove Week 1, when he only played 8% of the snaps and Week 11, when returning from injury (4% snaps), his average was 19.6.

Over the last three seasons, the No. 3 RB in fantasy football scoring has averaged 19.7 points per contest. So why is Achane falling to RB12 and RB13 in ESPN and Yahoo leagues?

Many believe that Achane is too small to handle a more significant workload and that his 7.9 yards per carry is due for massive regression. These are both reasonable concerns — especially the regression part. We have him at five yards per carry in the Fantasy Life projections.

We have also been conservative with Achane regarding his workload, but we shouldn't assume that a breakout player of his caliber won't see more playing time. The second-year back bulked up this offseason, and Raheem Mostert will be 32.

Last season, Achane handled 40% of the attempts and posted a 53% route participation in games with Mostert. We have him projected for 41% and 47%, and he comes out as the RB13. But what if those numbers climb modestly to 50% and 55%? That would move Achane to RB4 with 16.3 PPG!

The same arguments against Achane were made about Austin Ekeler, who went on to deliver 21.6 (RB3) and 22.2 (RB1) performances after never handling more than 37% of the Chargers' totes.

Achane's ADP is closer to his floor than his ceiling. He is a priority target in Round 3 – especially after starting WR-WR.


Malik Nabers | WR | Giants

  • ESPN ADP: WR25 (64)
  • Yahoo ADP: WR29 (51)

You might be looking at the prices on Nabers above and thinking it seems expensive for a rookie WR. That is precisely what we want other drafters to feel when they see his name. While the prices for rookie WRs have risen in the past few years – it is for good reason.

The data has been particularly good for guys in the top-six picks of the NFL Draft, like Nabers. Since 2011, eight rookies have gone inside the top six. Those who played at least 12 games averaged 14.4 PPG with an average finish of WR21.

  • Ja'Marr Chase: 18.0 PPG
  • Julio Jones: 15.7 PPG
  • Jaylen Waddle: 15.5 PPG
  • A.J. Green: 14.5 PPG
  • Amari Cooper: 13.4 PPG
  • Sammy Watkins: 12.4 PPG
  • Justin Blackmon: 11.4 PPG

We get to draft Nabers as a mid-to-high-end WR3 on ESPN and Yahoo, which would have paid off in five out of seven instances above. That is a swing I want to make despite my lack of excitement for a Daniel Jones-led attack. Nabers is the clear-cut WR1 with little competition. I have him projected for 131 targets.

Let's draft this beast and see what happens.


Tank Dell | WR | Texans

  • ESPN ADP: WR26 (66)
  • Yahoo ADP: WR25 (74)

Dell averaged a whopping 18.9 PPG in the eight contests where he posted a 50% route participation or higher as a rookie. During those contests, he notched a 24% target share and a 34% air yard share, which is WR2-worthy and WR1-worthy, since 2011.

However, the arrival of Stefon Diggs has drafters pushing Dell down draft boards. It will be challenging for all Texans pass catchers to have big fantasy seasons, which is a reasonable concern. Still, it is interesting that the market has decided Dell should be the last WR drafted from the Texans.

On ESPN and Yahoo, drafters are taking Nico Collins over 30 picks ahead of Dell. However, things were close when the two were on the field together last season, with Dell trailing Collins by only two percentage points in target share (24% vs 26%).

While Diggs still has something to offer based on his 30% target share last season, justifying a price tag of 33 and 29 picks earlier on ESPN and Yahoo is wild. If the two were going right next to one another, I would give Dell the edge based on his age and play-making ability. We are talking about someone who eclipsed 25 points in three of eight healthy games.

If the market is right about Dell as the third option on a high-quality passing attack, we can still live to fight another day. In that scenario, he might end up as a boom-bust WR4 as our sixth—or seventh-round pick. However, if the market has the pecking order wrong or an injury opens up more playing time, we have a player with the skills to push for a WR1 finish.


Jayden Daniels | QB | Commanders

  • ESPN ADP: QB12, (118)
  • Yahoo ADP: QB14, (117)

Over his collegiate career, Daniels posted a 14% scramble rate and averaged 17% of the designed rushing attempts — both great signs for future rushing production. His final two seasons at LSU were particularly impressive, in which Daniels maintained an enticing average of 90 yards per game.

Since 2011, we have had 21 instances of a QB recording 100 or more rushing attempts while passing for fewer than 3,500 yards. That group averaged 20.3 fantasy points per game and finished with an average of QB8 in points per game. Only three failed to secure a top-12 finish.

All the other QBs with the upside to hit 100-plus attempts go well ahead of Daniels.

  • Josh Allen: Round 2 or 3
  • Jalen Hurts: Round 3
  • Lamar Jackson: Round 3
  • Anthony Richardson: Round 4
  • Kyler Murray: Rounds 5 to 7

To be able to acquire a QB with a dual-threat profile in Round 10 is a gift. Even if Daniels fails as a passer in his rookie season, he has a great chance to pay off his ADP. However, if he is even an average passer, he will challenge for a top-six finish.

Here are some of the two-v-two scenarios to consider based on ESPN ADPs:

  • Josh Allen & Courtland Sutton vs. Daniels & Mike Evans
  • Jalen Hurts & Devin Singletary vs. Daniels & De'Von Achane
  • Lamar Jackson & Dallas Goedert vs. Daniels & Mark Andrews

Putting it all together: ESPN mock draft

Using our Draft Champion Mock Draft Simulator, I drafted a squad based on ESPN ADP data using ESPN's default roster settings. I wasn't able to capture all four of my target players, but I was able to land three and scoop up other values.

  • Targeting Achane as my top RB allowed me to take two high-end WRs: Ja'Marr Chase and Drake London.
  • Targeting Jayden Daniels allowed me to grab an elite TE in Round 5: Mark Andrews.
  • Malik Nabers will battle Amari Cooper for my starting flex position.
  • I don't usually draft two QBs in these formats, but Trevor Lawrence fell and gave me a backup plan for Daniels.

If Daniels and Achane do their part, this team should be fun. Our simulator gave me the second-best projected points with an A+ grade.

Draft Champion - Mock Draft Simulator

Be sure to check out the FantasyLife+ suite of tools, including the Draft Champion, which is customizable for various league settings and scoring formats.